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View Poll Results: Have you ever lived paycheck to paycheck ?
Never 96 37.07%
.1 - 2 years 51 19.69%
2.1 - 5 years 41 15.83%
5.1 years - 10 years 37 14.29%
More than 10 years 34 13.13%
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Old 06-28-2017, 01:04 PM   #61
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Probably about two years for me. For my last semester in college I had to move away for an internship. Getting money from family wasn't an option so I had to get a second job over the summer. After paying my half of the expenses in a new apartment I only had about $40 to my name. When the internship was over I had no job for a few weeks but eventually found some low pay work just to have money. A few months later someone in the office was fired and I started working OT. 5 months after that I found a better paying job with benefits. Things finally turned around when my wife who was my girlfriend at the time finished grad school and started working. We had a Styrofoam couch and ate hot dogs way too often back then.
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Old 06-28-2017, 01:30 PM   #62
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I feel so blessed to have never lived paycheck to paycheck. I don't take full credit as my parents contributed somewhat to my education (living at home was significant). Also, I grew up in a time when earning state school yearly tuition only required a summer's hard labor (spending money was earned on school weekends and holidays - no spring break fo dis haole!)

The folks I feel sorry for (yet wonder about their spending habits) are 40 and 50 year olds that go for years paycheck to paycheck. A friend of mine lived like that and had a very good, responsible job at a Megacorp. I never felt right about pointing out that each of his kids had a car (or near-monster truck). His DW routinely redecorated the house (on which there was a huge mortgage), he had more business suits than I had socks, he had every latest electronic toy, etc. Any of us could (or could have) found ourselves in a struggle at one time or another through out our life times. But to actually become "comfortable" with living paycheck to paycheck is what I can't understand. YMMV
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Old 06-28-2017, 01:45 PM   #63
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The folks I feel sorry for (yet wonder about their spending habits) are 40 and 50 year olds that go for years paycheck to paycheck.
DW and I just shake our heads in wonder at such people too. At my last job there was a glitch in the payroll system once and instead of the regular Friday deposit, that wasn't going to happen until the following Monday. For most folks here that's worthy of a "meh".

You should have seen the moaning, groaning, gnashing of teeth and near-panic! One or two even took out payday loans. It was sad in a way because some would be working until health issues forced them out.
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Old 06-28-2017, 01:51 PM   #64
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I ended up on that hamster wheel for a couple of years. I was so far underwater and in debt that I would pay my CC bills, then wait for them to post, go get money out of the CC, and use that to pay other CC's.


Credit Cards can be a great tool but unless you are disciplined, they can be your worst enemy.
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Old 06-28-2017, 01:55 PM   #65
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We got married & I went to grad school for Masters for 1.5 years. We lived p2p for that period.
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Old 06-28-2017, 02:44 PM   #66
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DW and I just shake our heads in wonder at such people too. At my last job there was a glitch in the payroll system once and instead of the regular Friday deposit, that wasn't going to happen until the following Monday. For most folks here that's worthy of a "meh".

You should have seen the moaning, groaning, gnashing of teeth and near-panic! One or two even took out payday loans. It was sad in a way because some would be working until health issues forced them out.
Back in 2001 when I first switched from working FT to PT, my initial PT paycheck was delayed for 2 weeks because the switch from FT to PT meant I would be paid on a lag basis. Nobody told me this beforehand, and I didn't find out until I had no paycheck coming to me on the regular payday.

This happened in the middle of the month, when only a few small bills are due, so it was no big deal. [At worst, had this happened just before the end of a month when bigger bills are due, it would have been a small inconvenience.] The only real surprise when this happened was the way my apologetic boss reacted to my no-big-deal ("meh") response. She seemed rather stunned that it made no real difference.

I remained on a lag pay basis for the next 7 years. I remember once or twice my boss (a different person) forgot to turn in my weekly timesheets so my pay was halved until the next paycheck, again no big deal. When I left the company in 2008, the lag payroll got me an extra paycheck after my last day, plus another week because I left in the middle of a pay period. That, along with getting paid out for a bunch of unused PTO I had no idea I still had made for a nice bonus!
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Old 06-28-2017, 03:08 PM   #67
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About 2 yrs. Just starting out, married and a child. My parents did most everything wrong so I seen how miserable life was living like that. DW and I didn't have any guidance and we started down that same road and was blessed to make the changes to live a much better life!
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Old 06-28-2017, 06:02 PM   #68
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For a couple of years when the recession hit, and my income plunged 80% in 6 months (self employed, selling real estate at that time). Did not tap retirement savings, but it was touch and go for awhile. Downsized, and sold a property. DW took a new job, and I started a side business. Eventually we bounced back better than ever. No worries for about the last 6 years, thank goodness.
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Old 06-28-2017, 06:34 PM   #69
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Back in the late 70's, I was in my early 20's and drove a beat up old car. I was definitely living paycheck to paycheck, even though I did have a fairly decent job at the time. One day, my beater was backed into in a parking lot and instead of getting the thing fixed, I pocketed the $500 in damages and opened a savings account. From that moment on, I was hooked on saving money. What a sense of freedom it was to have that little bit of money (actually, a tidy sum back then) set aside...just in case! Fast forward four decades and here I am, retired at 58, $3m in investments and zero debt. I often reflect on that day and how a seemingly inconsequential event ended up having such a profound impact on my life. It's likely I would have figured it out soon enough, but I often say a quiet little "thank you" to that lousy parker, where ever he may be.
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Old 06-28-2017, 06:35 PM   #70
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I have a friend who decided in the early 70's to take a sales j*b in Hawaii. He was 23 and had just graduated university. He sold everything he owned, hitched a ride to the airport and took a one-way to Honolulu with $60 in his pocket plus the clothes he had on or tucked in his suitcase. His first paycheck would begin one month later. He had planned to live on the beach until he got paid. Fortunately, his boss picked him up at the airport and found a place for him to live on an advance. For him, it was just that one month as he blew away his fellow sales people and quickly rose to sales manager before starting his own business. I think there are just some folks who would "make it" (including making whatever sacrifices are needed) no mater what the circumstances. YMMV
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Old 06-28-2017, 06:58 PM   #71
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Yes, for the first few years out of college. I graduated into a bad job market in the early 90's and joined the USAF out of desperation to get a stable job. The pay was low for an O-1, and the housing allowance hadn't caught up to the fact that rents had increased dramatically in the area I was stationed.
When I was a young naval officer back in the early 80's, it was my great good fortune to be a submariner. When we were underway, which was most of the time, there was simply no way to spend even a penny. So the fact that O-1/O-2 pay was comically low did not really affect me. It just built up in the bank.
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Old 06-28-2017, 09:28 PM   #72
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The Navy was not only feeding, clothing, and housing me but gave me a whole $128/month to blow. Unfortunately my Mom had told me about a tax sale of some Oregon coast property - she paid the purchase price and I paid her + interest till it was paid off. Didn't leave much play money. After the navy was college - thanks GI bill! - and tiny amounts of cash from no-account jobs. My career working for others was random and brought in minuscule money. No problem - I just pointed any pay at bills first, then could play with the remaining $20 or so. Started working for myself and did a bit better, but still operated on a "get any money out of my hands soonest" basis. In the 80's interest was so high it just made great sense to pay off debt very aggressively. Started buying property and there was lots of debt to address, so my wallet stayed flat.

For decades I/we lived on a barely enough basis as we pushed our debt load down. Played tricks with myself - $100 bills couldn't be spent on day-to-day expenses; they were for debt pay-down or investment, so even if I had hundreds in my pocket I might be broke for a week. Relaxing a bit now, but still want to believe money has a purpose and want it to be earmarked - I'm more comfortable being "broke" than having cash stacked up doing nothing.
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Old 06-29-2017, 08:31 AM   #73
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I've mentioned a few times here how in DW's old job, guys making $500K+ would come around on Thursday bumming $50 from her. Of course, they always paid her back but it was obvious they didn't even have $100 in the ATM in the lobby to draw from.
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Old 06-29-2017, 09:01 AM   #74
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Never really lived PC-to-PC, but DH and I sort of set up our living budget that way. We saved and invested first, paid bills and lived off an allowance each payday (also have always kept some slush in our checking for "just in case"). Not sure why, but I would even take some of my allowance and stick in the a sock in my sock drawer for a "rainy day". This "sock fund" would get large and I would end up adding that to our savings account and start over. It had grown to be a joke for DH and I over the many years.

Like others have commented, I worked in megacorp for many years in a sales capacity. When comp/bonus/pay checks were delayed for any reason, most folks had to get a draw or have the check over-nighted to them with many of them in a panic mode. Different strokes for different folks and I remind myself daily that "there but by the grace of God go I".
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Old 06-29-2017, 09:17 AM   #75
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When I saw the writing on the wall at my penultimate employer (now bankrupt), I got a new job that started the second of January, 2000. Due to HR, um, issues, I didn't actually get on the payroll until March. Prior to then, I was to be paid as a consultant. I regularly put in for my pay, and was regularly told that HR had, um, issues. I finally received my first check in mid-March.

My workmates were shocked that I could live without a paycheck for so long. I explained as best I could that that's what savings were for. It was a novel concept, apparently.
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Old 06-29-2017, 09:39 AM   #76
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I checked "never" but in reality, of course I have. In college, I had a small stipend from a ROTC scholarship in addition to my wages and tips as a server/bartender at a local restaurant. I wasn't saving anything then because it was all going to feed me.

Since graduation, I've saved at least 10% per year and usually much more than that.
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Old 06-29-2017, 09:42 AM   #77
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Originally Posted by Koolau View Post
The folks I feel sorry for (yet wonder about their spending habits) are 40 and 50 year olds that go for years paycheck to paycheck.
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Originally Posted by Walt34 View Post
DW and I just shake our heads in wonder at such people too.
That would have been me. I admit it: I'm a slow learner. Let 20 years slip by before I took control of my own destiny. Two decades in the salt mines and I had essentially nada to show for it.

But maybe my example might be reassuring to other folks who didn't get an early start. The past is past, and even at age 42 it's not too late to get serious.
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Old 06-29-2017, 02:57 PM   #78
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My Dad wrote me a check for $250.00 upon HS graduation and said it's the best I can do toward your dream of a Masters degree. Worked my a%^ off and started a business refurbishing apartments when tenants moved out. Sold the business upon graduation with no college debts.

My poor father sold some land in my thirtieth year and gave me a check for 50K. He said it was my college money. By then I had my Master's degree.

Never forgot that lesson, nor my wise father.
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Old 06-29-2017, 03:27 PM   #79
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Wonderful insights here.

Here's mine.

After high school, I wandered aimlessly in one low skill job to the next. Then during a recessionary period, I lost my job. Nothing turned up. Came to my apartment after beating the streets looking for work; lo and behold, my meager possessions were sitting in the snow bank. So I loaded them in my s*&t - box dodge and said dodge was my new home.

In Minnesota.
In December.
Until February.

At least I had a vehicle that kept me out of the wind. But if you want to know if I was "comfy," climb in your freezer and try taking a nap.

Once I got my feet back under me, I still screwed up regularly until I met my DW. She can squeeze and nickle so hard it turns into a dime. While I was almost always the bread winner, she was the bread saver.

We had a tough slog in the early 90's, but survived that and enjoyed upward mobility (but NOT lifestyle inflation) to the point where retirement (very, very soon) looks promising and secure.
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Old 06-29-2017, 03:33 PM   #80
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When we started out, there was nothing left after paying bills for savings. I had a handwritten payment schedule and sometimes had to not overspend this paycheck because some of it had to be used for a bill coming in 3 weeks. Later, in one month we upgraded to a bigger house and I changed jobs. There was about a year when there was nothing left after paying our bills and contributing to our 401K. And then there was the time when we were both working and maxing out our retirement contributions. We never didn't meet pay our bills though.

I'm not sure what the definition of "paycheck to paycheck" is. Is it income barely meets expenses? If so then I've been doing that for the last 8 years. My PT job doesn't pay all the expenses. DW retired over a year ago. We didn't reduce our living style, we just tap into the cash saved. It is all part of the "retirement" plan. That will end this year when I finally stop the PT job and we live 100% off the savings until the following year when SS starts for DW and I start the WD process from the 401K's/IRA's

DM and DF had times that were tight as DF got paid once a month. DM had a food allowance. At the end of the month there were sometimes "depression" meals. Spaghetti with a bit of ground beef, or stewed tomatoes on bread.
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